Commentary: An unobscured fact: cooperation benefits both China, Australia

By Zhang Na, Zhang Jianhua (Xinhua) 16:53, October 16, 2023

CANBERRA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has conducted three "classified studies" over the past eight years regarding its ties with China, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post recently cited sources as saying.

The conclusions of these non-partisan independent research reports are nearly unanimous in stating that Australia is "unlikely" to decouple from China.

In fact, even without the "classified studies," the mutually beneficial relationship between Australia and China, as well as the long-established framework of mutual interests, is evident.

Open statistics from Australia show that the bilateral trade volume was 113 million Australian dollars (71 million U.S. dollars) in the second year of diplomatic relations in 1973. The bilateral goods trade volume exceeded 220 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, according to China's official data.

Such significant growth would be hard to achieve without a basis of mutual benefit.

In terms of services trade, mainland Chinese students accounted for 25 percent, ranking first, of some 620,000 international students in Australia in 2022. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, China was Australia's "largest and most valuable" inbound tourism market.

Even though flights between the two countries have not been fully restored to date, China became Australia's second-largest source of international tourists in July. In August of this year, China resumed outbound group tours to Australia, providing a boost to the local tourism industry.

The "classified studies," open data, and the half-century of experiences all clearly demonstrate that cooperation benefits both China and Australia and the essence of their relations is one of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

It will continue to be the mainstream in the bilateral relationship as China has consistently viewed and developed the bilateral ties from a strategic and long-term perspective, maintaining policy continuity and stability, and upholding the important position of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia.

China opposes the politicization of economic and trade issues and strives to find win-win solutions to concerns and disagreements in bilateral trade through dialogue and communication. China is committed to friendly exchanges and cooperation with Australia, and this policy remains unchanged.

Looking at the overall trajectory of China-Australia relations over the past 50 years and the broader trends in the international political landscape, mutual respect and mutual benefit are the best ways to safeguard the interests of both countries.

The difficulties and setbacks of the past few years should not define the essence of the bilateral relationship, nor should they impede cooperation between the two countries. This understanding is simple and fundamental.

Currently, China-Australia relations are at an important stage of stabilization and improvement. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese reached an important consensus on continuing to develop the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership during their meeting in Bali, Indonesia last year. High-level interactions have increased mutual trust and generated positive expectations for bilateral relations.

In terms of mutual understanding, it is important to view each other in an objective, calm, and friendly manner. Moreover, it is crucial to remember that China and Australia are partners, not adversaries. For Australia, it is of particular importance to recognize that China's development is an opportunity, not a threat.

To safeguarding mutual interests, it is key to promote China-Australia bilateral relations independently, free from third-party influence or interference.

A healthy and stable China-Australia relationship serves the fundamental interests of both countries and contributes to the peace, stability, and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

As long as both sides adhere to the principles of mutual respect, mutual benefit, peaceful coexistence, and seeking common ground while maintaining differences, China and Australia can jointly achieve sustained improvement and development of their relations, thus bringing more benefits to the two peoples.

(Web editor: Liang Jun, Hongyu)


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